As a kid, I too dreamt of having a dog, like many do. But I was denied that joy when I brought home a neighbour’s pup. My mother refused to have him. It would be either her or the dog. My dad asked me to look after myself first before I tried taking responsibility for another creature. I realised they were right.
Later in life when I graduated in engineering, I set up a factory on a one-acre plot in TTC MIDC to manufacture heat exchangers. I needed a watch dog for the premises but wondered how to get one. I was lucky. I got a dog whose master had just expired and there was no one to look after him. A big, strong, three-year old, male German Shepherd; the dog of my dreams.
All that I knew about dogs was from books. This guy gave me a tough time. Although he was put on a leash, he was too ferocious for anyone to approach him, even to place milk or food within his reach. The moment I would approach him, he would leap, bark and growl with his teeth showing. He was protesting for being tied up.
I decided to give him a bath with a hosepipe. He objected so ferociously that the metal gate he was chained to, began to rattle. Wanting to tame him, I increased the water pressure and pointed the hose towards his face. He kept moving out of the line and I kept aligning it in line with his face. We set a frantic pace. Moving from left to right and back in a matter of seconds with a high-pressure hose was tiring but neither of us would budge. Just as I was about to give up, he did and settled down with a whimper.
Both of us were panting away; he with his long tongue hanging. I could now go near him and untie the chain. He accepted me and we went on a long walk. When we returned, he was sniffing away as delicious meat was waiting for him in a big bowl. He quickly gulped it down. I was his new master and he was my best friend.
I called him Boozo and we gelled with each other. He was a well-trained dog. Both of us would often go for a long walk and climb the nearby hills. I loved to show off Boozo, especially when the two of us juggled with a football. It used to be quite a sight, much to the amusement of people around. Playing with him was a good workout for me. There were times he would get past me and at other times I would dribble better. His head against my bare feet on the grass.
I once had a friend over for dinner and a rat scurried past us while we were eating. My friend chased the rat but it hid itself behind a steel cupboard placed against a wall.
“I will need Boozo’s help,” I said. My friend laughed when I called out to Boozo. “How can he hear you when he is at the other end of the plot?” he enquired.
The next moment – even to my surprise -the fellow was there, panting away with his long tongue hanging out. I pointed to the cupboard. Boozo could smell a rat. He hit the cupboard with his powerful paws and the rat rushed out from the left. But Boozo was faster. He slapped the rat with his paw and the rat was done. Boozo looked up at me, pride evident on his face. I gave him a smile, pointed to the dead rat and called out his name as a command. He picked up the rat and walked off. My friend looked aghast!
Humans love dogs and like to teach them like we teach babies. However, we have a lot to learn from dogs. The question is, how do we learn from them when we judge them wrongly?
Dogs live for the moment and die only once, whereas we die every moment. If we only learn to stretch like dogs when we get up from sleep, the blood circulating through our body will give us a high bigger than we get from drinking a cup of coffee.
Dogs are the animals closest to us. No wonder we use words like ‘dog’ and a ‘bitch’ to describe people. Human beings have double standards, dogs don’t. How misplaced is our perception, when we think of ourselves as being superior! We use a derogatory term to call others a dog or a bitch, not realising that there is no relationship purer than the one between a dog and a bitch.
Our world is a dog-eat-dog world. Not for the dogs, because dogs don’t believe in the world. Unlike us, they only believe in themselves.